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RE: NO TRIP TO LINCOLN or WHAT HAPPENED TO THE "WESTERN STATES EXAM"?

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I certainly didn't have any "insider" knowledge.  I just studied my butt off and acquired enough knowledge by experience in order to pass the thing.  I'm sure the same is true for everybody that has passed it.
ag


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tom Skaggs [mailto:tom.skaggs(--nospam--at)apawood.org]
> Sent: Monday, November 17, 2003 12:01 PM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: NO TRIP TO LINCOLN or WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 
> "WESTERN STATES
> EXAM"?
> 
> 
> Being out of State (Washington), and being of a slightly 
> different era as Mr. Fratessa, I'll decline to comment on 
> these allegations.  Again, from outsider's observation, 
> things are definitely done differently in California, 
> however, I'm somewhat skeptical that Mr. Fratessa should bear 
> the brunt of this criticism.
> 
> However, I find your allegations of "insider knowledge" on 
> the SE exam offensive.  I know a lot of very talented SE from 
> California, and I don't appreciate you besmirching there well 
> deserved reputation and title.  Perhaps there are a few bad 
> apples in the barrel, I find it hard to believe that a 
> significant percent of CA SE's received this title with 
> anything more than their knowledge of structural engineering.
> 
> Tom Skaggs
> Tacoma, WA
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Whistle Blower [mailto:whisblow(--nospam--at)yahoo.com]
> Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2003 20:22
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: NO TRIP TO LINCOLN or WHAT HAPPENED TO THE "WESTERN 
> STATES EXAM"?
> 
> 
> 
> WHISTLE BLOWER'S ANNOTATIONS to "SICK PROFESSION or EPILOGUE 
> TO GOOD RIDDANCE":  
>  
> Yes, indeed, it is a sick profession. But why? There is only 
> whining about it on this server, no reasons, no solutions. 
> The reasons are twofold: Code Confusion & Gatekeeping. A 
> handful of structural engineers are responsible, Fratessa 
> being one of them. There is no reason why one building code 
> does not exist in CA, without conflicts in it, a code with 
> parts and embodied references that can be interpreted the 
> same by any engineer, any building department, or any lawyer, 
> not just a code for those engineers who profess to know it 
> all and have the power to make decisions when it suits them 
> for some particular [self-serving] purpose. Just
>  look at how silly it all is; UBC, CBC, IBC and now, guess 
> what: NFPA 5000. Fratessa could have used his tenure with the 
> California Seismic Safety Commission [1986-1995] and the 
> various opportunities afterwards to bring some coherence to 
> the code, but instead he made it worse. Ever tried to explain 
> to a client how some design came about and why they have to 
> pay, change, argue with building departments and contractors, 
> and pay, pay, pay? No wonder we are a joke profession.
>  
> And the SE exam [in California]. Not only was Fratessa a part 
> of the hoax [when he took the exam he was employed by the 
> office that wrote it, lucky for him], he perpetuated the 
> situation with the excuse that if a CE is not in the employ 
> [or was, and has paid the necessary homage] of one or more of 
> the offices that write, check, and grade our [CA] home-grown 
> exam each year he/she does not deserve the
>  ticket. Less than 100 civil engineers in California of a 
> population of 30,000,000 are "qualified" each year? Don't 
> think so. What does that say for training [education and 
> experience] is it that bad? Can't be. The hidden or denied 
> secret is: inside trading, just like the stock market. The 
> temptation to allow at least an advance look at the test for 
> favored employees [like, hmmm....those with plenty of family 
> money to invest in the firm to become partners], family, and 
> friends is insurmountable. Other events occur besides 
> intentional leaks; for instance, a few years ago a copy of 
> the exam was left in a copy machine in San Diego [John Shipp 
> said Sacto tried to figure it out but there was no way to 
> tell how many passed due to that event], but the 
> consideration [due to Gatekeeping], should have been, how 
> many did not rightfully get the ticket? Of the 25% limit of 
> those who take the test not much room is left for 
> non-insiders. Known history includes other events: a desk was 
> broken into in
>  northern CA, a briefcase was lost in Sacto, there were 
> rumors of inside information traded by a SE board member for 
> sexual favors and so on, but those must be only a part of 
> reported events and a fraction of unreported events which 
> certainly do not cover all the non-intentional leaking. Even 
> without leaks, test problems taken from some office design 
> problem may be more familiar to some applicant than others. 
> The fact of the matter is that all fairness goes out the 
> window when anyone has inside information. There are those 
> apologists for the sorry state of affairs who deny there are 
> any "leaks", but does anyone actually believe that among all 
> those involved that nothing gets out? Those who do are just 
> plain stupid.
>  
> The CA test used to be called the "Western States" exam. Ever 
> wonder what happened to the other states? Before an October 
> some years ago Idaho signed up
>  with CA until the results from that October came in. Not one 
> Idaho CE passed, the reason being no office in Idaho 
> participated in the making of the test. The Idaho Board 
> quietly dropped their subscription. Hardly anyone from Oregon 
> passed in the following years so Oregon switched to giving 
> their applicants the option to take the NCEES Struct I and II 
> exams or a proctored "Western States" exam [for reciprocity, 
> and because their contract with CA had not expired]. With the 
> option Oregon stopped participating in the making of the 
> test. Thereafter, nobody from Oregon passed the "Western 
> States" exam and the Oregon State Board let their 
> subscription expire, as did Hawaii. Then, Washington found 
> that the only applicants from WA that passed the exam were 
> those who worked in the offices designated by SEAOW to 
> participate in the writing of the test [and, not all of them 
> were CE's because WA does not require an applicant to be a CE 
> to sit]. Olympia then dropped the "Western States" [CA] test,
>  went to NCEES Struct I and Struct II, and added their own 
> Struct III for seismic. They will have the same problem with 
> leaks in their Struct III unless NCEES does it as NCEES exams 
> are secure [the test is assembled away from the applicants 
> using problems taken from a large pool]. Imagine the 
> improbability of an innocent applicant passing when others 
> have inside information. Even a hint, such as "look for a 
> concrete joint problem", or "think EBF", will hurt those not 
> getting the hint. Imagine the advantage for those with one or 
> more complete problems in advance of the test. After all, the 
> test is competition, code tricks and speed, so advance 
> knowledge is much more powerful than knowledge.
>  
> When Fratessa was confronted with the facts and asked what he 
> would recommend, his solution was to add an oral exam to the 
> 2 days of testing to "weed out" the "undesirables". Knowing
>  Fratessa's proclivities, that suggestion said it all. Those 
> in the Club must be laughing at the young exam applicants and 
> their eager e-mails, especially those from states that use an 
> exam that is not available to insiders (and therefore 
> infinitely better in gauging competence, the intended purpose 
> of the exam), as we have in California. A cancer with no 
> resolution other than go to a national exam, which the Club 
> members will never allow. Unfortunately, as they die off, 
> they are replaced by new members.
>  
> FRATESSA was at best a mediocre engineer who grandstanded to 
> compensate for personal problems his soreness of being 
> refused admission to what he derisively called the "larger" 
> colleges. Subservient engineers did the engineering that 
> bears his name, much of which he never saw.
>  
> Whistle Blower: Anonymous Passive Club Member [Actives are Ruthless]
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
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